View Full Version : Under-appreciated masters: Phil Wilson & George Tichbourne

05-19-2012, 11:16 AM
I've haven't seen the names of either of these master knife makers in the forum, and I'd be interested in whether anyone else has experience with their work. I've posted pics of the few I own, an 8-inch chef and fillet knife by Wilson and a behemoth by Canadian maker Tichbourne, who died in December of 2010.

Phil Wilson, as most of you probably know, operates out of Mountain Ranch California, favors CPM steels and is better known for his outdoor and fillet knives than for all-purpose chefs. But I love his custom chef made of Bohler-Uddeholm M390 and ironwood scales and tiny mosaic pins. The 6-inch flexible fillet integral with stag and ironwood handle is N690.

Tichbourne's chef is his own design, weighs 19 ounches and is as useful as a cleaver as it is a general purpose chef knife! It was one of the last knives he made and the process of ordering it was the best part. He was the most gracious person I had ever dealt with over the phone, calling me several times to be sure the details were right and that my credit card had been charged correctly. He was known for his mirror finishes, but I find the spine (with decorative file work) the best part, as comfortable as any I have used. Light it isn't, but it makes easy work of chicken bones where I'd be tempted to use a cleaver.



The hekler
05-19-2012, 02:25 PM
Dang if you like a belly that knife certainly has you covered! You speak of the file work spine and don't have a pic? How can that be?

05-19-2012, 03:02 PM
How do you find the M390 stands up in a kitchen knife?

Eamon Burke
05-19-2012, 03:47 PM
Those Wilson ones look alright. The other one looks insane.

05-19-2012, 04:05 PM
Not my kinda of knives :)
And even if you get a MS title, it doesn't mean you can make a kitchen knife. Actually most MS smiths make ****** kitchenknives, just a handful who knows what they are doing :)

sachem allison
05-19-2012, 04:17 PM
I used to have one of Tichbournes, " original bowies" nice knife, never cared for his kitchen knives, but he could make one hell of a Bowie!

05-19-2012, 11:29 PM
Spine and file work on the Tichbourne as pictured. And yes, it is a little insane to wield a knife that big with a belly that looks like it scarfed a few six packs. And it's not my favorite. It's just different and good for heavy work, although the tip makes some delicate work possible.

In answer to your question, TB, M390 sharpens up more easily than, say, Devin's AEB-L but it's not the best chopper in the world, losing its edge if I use anything other than a wood cutting board. Still, I like the way this particular knife feels in my hand when I don't want a laser.

For more work by Wilson http://www.seamountknifeworks.com

Tichbourne's past work (some still might be available) http://www.tichbourneknives.com/



05-20-2012, 03:53 PM
Not my kinda of knives :)
And even if you get a MS title, it doesn't mean you can make a kitchen knife. Actually most MS smiths make ****** kitchenknives, just a handful who knows what they are doing :)

I am pretty sure neither are MS's.

05-20-2012, 04:14 PM
Honestly not crazy about either profile there.

05-20-2012, 05:03 PM
George was a legend around "these parts". Not only did he make a hell of a blade, but he would take you in, for no extra cost and make a knife WITH you.
His skinners are the best I've seen and a wonderful for field dressing.
Thanks for momentarily reviving a legend.

05-20-2012, 08:31 PM
I think if Wilson applied himself to kitchen knives exclusively... he'd be in the rare air.

He is a master technician in his approach to steels and grinds.


Eamon Burke
05-20-2012, 09:35 PM